June 22, 2018
My two eldest sons, Michael and Jon, have come into town to celebrate Father’s Day with me and to get a little break from the stress of the world and the heat of Arizona where they live. We have spent some time fishing on the beach during their stay and though they are no longer little boys, it makes me smile that they still ask me to bait their hooks and remove their catches from those same hooks. It reminds me of simpler times when, as a young father, I would give my sons Horsey Rides on my shoulders.
Those thoughts remind me of a very special moment that occurred on my third day during my mission trip recently to El Salvador. On that third day morning, I awoke early filled with anticipation. The day promised to be one full of emotions coming from the special children we were there to minister to; or maybe it is they who would be ministering to us. Our mission bus pulled into the field next to our humble motel and when the doors to the bus opened, out flowed a flood of smiling and cheering children…our children, at least for the day.
Sixteen of the children held small signs up, each child with a different name of one of the folks in our mission group. We were instructed to find the child who had our name on their placard and to spend time with them. Upon finding “my child,” Caesar, I knelt down, and with the help of an interpreter, got about the business of introductions and starting a friendship with my boy. Caesar was very shy; hardly saying a word. So I just held him and smiled in his direction. Our organizers advised us that we were going to walk the mile and a half (uphill) to our place of mission work for the day. It was very hot! So we started to walk, I, holding Caesar’s sweaty little hand in my big sweaty hand. To show him I was a good guy, I offered him cool water from my bottle. He greedily chugged the refreshing liquid down…then smiled in my direction. I was making a friend, but still, verbal communication was coming very slowly. So I had, to my way of thinking at least, a GREAT IDEA! Turned out, I was right.
I bent down and, with the assistance of an interpreter, asked Caesar if he would like to ride on my shoulders. He just smiled and shook his head in the affirmative, so up went my new little friend for what I would soon learn was his first Horsey Ride. I don’t know who was more thrilled, him, or me. When we arrived at the church we were to minister at, I set Caesar down and asked him if he liked his Horsey Ride. I was told his answer was, “Yes! I never had one before. My daddy never has done that.” Then he hugged me and wouldn’t let go. It felt so good to me. What a huge response from such a small effort on my part.
Today, Caesar’s words still reverberate in my soul as I bait my grown sons’ fish hooks. I realize that it is the little things in life that have the most lasting effects on us, especially if they are acts of love, done sacrificially. I’m glad I have given my sons Horsey Rides in the past, but after the one I gave Caesar, I wish I had given them many more. Maybe they do also.
Give your kids a piece of you today. Stop what you are doing and tell them that you love them. If you are able, maybe you could give them a Horsey Ride, or possibly, just bait their hook. I pray we all will.